10 SEPTEMBER 1910, Page 14



SIR,—May I venture to summarise the position as follows P- (1) Our British system of measures of length, area, volume, and mass have no direct connexion or easily calculated associa- tion, and are in that respect admittedly very inferior to the measures of the French metric system. (2) Because of the convenience of division by twelve instead of ten in the foot and the shilling, many of your correspondents seem to think that all our measures are superior to those of the metrics system, and our coinage superior to the decimal coinages.

(3) But no impartial person can for a moment contend that our system of measures is anything but an accumulation of complex absurdities and inconsistencies which are a great impediment to commerce and manufacture. How many of your readers could recite correctly from memory our tables of weights and measures as taught at school P Any Frenchman could give you his without hesitation or doubt. Could it be imagined that in any country where the metric system prevails there should be any agitation to introduce the British system P (4) If we agree that our system is bad, are we to attempt to reform it on a decimal or a duodecimal basis, and are we going to insist on using the inch or foot as our unit of length P (5) As a reform on a duodecimal basis, though in theory the better, is scarcely possible because of our decimal arithmetic, reformers must be driven to suggest a decimal reform. (6) If we are to reform on a decimal basis, are we to have an entirely new system based on the foot or inch as unit of length, or should we boldly adopt the metric system which is already in use over most of Europe, and for a decimal system entirely unobjectionable P (7) The coinage question is somewhat apart; but being committed to decimal arithmetic, why not also have a decimal coinage? What country that has reckoned in dollars and cents or francs and centimes would tolerate our complexities P—I am, Sir, &c.,